Second Thoughts:

Bielema close to a long-term relationship?

By: Jason Yates
Published: Sunday, May 13, 2018
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, left, and former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, center, walk the field during Alabama's Pro Day, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The event is to showcase players for the upcoming NFL football draft. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, left, and former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, center, walk the field during Alabama's Pro Day, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The event is to showcase players for the upcoming NFL football draft. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The New England Patriots saw some major personnel turnover over the course of the offseason: Not only did the team lose four of its core players to free agency, it also watched defensive coordinator Matt Patricia become the head coach of the Detroit Lions.

The vacant position has not been filled by the Patriots – and it reportedly will stay open, at least in title, this year.

Brian Flores is expected to take over play-calling duties from Patricia. How exactly this entire situation will look like once organized team activities, training camp and preseason start remains to be seen, but it appears that New England is in the process of bringing in another coach to assist with the transition from Patricia to Flores.

That’s where former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville head Coach Bret Bielema comes in.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Bielema continues to work for the organization. He first popped up during the scouting combine in March when he was spotted wearing Patriots gear and attending the event alongside the team’s scouting staff. Now, according to Yates, Bielema is expected to be involved with coaching duties as well.

He brings plenty of experience to the table. Before leading Arkansas to a 29-34 record and two bowl victories during his five seasons as head coach, he was 68-24 from 2006 through 2012 as Wisconsin’s head coach while winning two bowl games and three Big Ten titles.

Bielema held defensive coordinator titles at Wisconsin and Kansas State after starting his coaching career as linebackers coach at his alma mater Iowa. It’s likely he won’t get any of those positions in New England right away, but it would not be a surprise to see Bielema named a defensive assistant or assistant to the coaching staff, possibly becoming Flores’ right-hand man.

So it appears Bielema is moving on after his breakup with the Razorbacks. A long-term relationship with the Patriots would be a nice rebound.

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